September 19, 2018
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This demographic is growing quickly

As the 2018 midterms heat up, the choice of political candidates is becoming ever more diverse and somewhat confusing. There are a ton of Muslim candidates running for office across the United States. Most are Democrats as far as I know and support a liberal agenda. This election cycle has seen more Muslim candidates running for office than I can ever remember in my lifetime. At least one in Minnesota is pretty much a done deal and others may follow suit.

Fayaz Nawabi, who is 31 years old, is one such candidate in San Diego, California. He has never met President Trump, but he does give him credit for his running for office currently. He is running for San Diego City Council. Nawabi is pro-affordable housing, pro-environment, pro-immigrant and pro-refugee. He’s also pro-gun control. That makes him part of the blue wave of new liberal candidates that are spurred to run by Trump’s election and his conservative policies. The blue wave’s political platform is exceedingly liberal in all respects and pretty much the polar opposite of Trump’s.

In fact, Nawabi is part of a new subset of liberal politics… the blue Muslim wave. More than 90 American Muslims are running for office this time around. They are young and new to politics. They all have in common that they are long shots, stand against President Trump’s policies and are primarily Democrats. But even if they lose, they will surely run again next time around and they are gaining experience on the ground this campaign season.

Their numbers may seem relatively small, but their candidacies are a trend. This is an unprecedented rise in political numbers for the nation’s diverse Muslim community that typically has been underrepresented in American politics. Currently, there are more than 3.3 million Muslims that live in the United States. And that number is increasing every year. Right now, they hold just two of the 535 seats in Congress. Voter participation in Muslim communities is very low as well. That’s something these candidates are trying to rectify.

From The Counter Jihad Report:

“The rise of Muslim candidates coincides with the growth of the predominantly immigrant population and a partisan shift that has played out over a generation. In a 2001 Zogby poll of American Muslims, 42 percent said they voted for Republican George W. Bush in the previous year’s presidential election, while 31 percent said they voted for Democrat Al Gore. By last year, just 8 percent of voting American Muslims in a Pew poll said they voted for Trump, while 78 percent said they voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“While Clinton’s campaign never garnered broad enthusiasm from Muslim communities, Trump’s campaign — which called for the monitoring of mosques and a ban on Muslims entering the United States — delivered a jolt on election night that some American Muslims likened to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“’It woke everyone up,” Nawabi said.

“Now, Muslim candidates are running for a wide range of offices across the country, from local school boards to the U.S. Senate. Some are making their Muslim identity central to their campaigns.

“’When you put someone in a corner and they’re in survival mode, they have a tendency to come out and speak more prominently about their beliefs,” said Nawabi, who considers himself an “unapologetic Muslim” who can quote the Koran from memory and moonlights as a “freelance imam.’”

In Michigan alone, there are thirteen Muslim candidates running for office. Physician Abdul El-Sayed is hoping voters will elect him to be the first Muslim governor in the United States and he has used his religious affiliation unapologetically in his campaign ads against Republican front-runner Bill Schuette, whom Trump has endorsed.

“Donald Trump and Steve Bannon would love to see a right-wing radical like Bill Schuette elected in Michigan,” reads a Facebook ad for El-Sayed, who faces a Democratic primary in August. “You know what would be sweet justice? If we elected a 33-year-old Muslim instead of Bill Schuette. Send a message and help elect the first Muslim governor in America.” Michigan is pretty much ground zero for Muslim politics these days. A fierce battle in politics is playing out there in Muslim communities.

Another candidate is Asif Mahmood, a 56-year-old pulmonologist. He would be the first Muslim insurance commissioner in California. Deedra Abboud, 45, in Arizona, or Jesse Sbaih, 42, in Nevada, could be the country’s first Muslim senator. And any one of four Muslim women running for office: Nadia Hashimi, 40, in Maryland; Sameena Mustafa, 47, in Illinois; or Fayrouz Saad, 34, and Rashida Tlaib, 41, in Michigan could be the first female Muslim in Congress.

As I said, many of these new candidates may not win this time around, but give it time. They are determined and their communities are pulling together behind them. The proof will be in the statistics, polls and voter turnouts come election day. This demographic is growing quickly and you will definitely see more Muslims in office in the next election cycle or two should this trend continue.

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